Just two years ago, Ben Carson retired from his position as head of pedantic neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Now, he is in serious contention to be the next President of the United States.
Growing up in Detroit, Carson’s family was very poor. He was raised by his mother, who worked multiple low-wage jobs to provide for he and his brother. Carson’s mother stressed education in their home by making them read books every week and then writing a book report on every book they read. However, even with this emphasis on education, Carson was not the best student growing up. Eventually, Carson overcame these challenges and went on to Yale University and University of Michigan Medical School.
Carson vaulted himself into the political spectrum after giving a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013. The basis of his speech railed against political correctness and many of the main bills President Barack Obama had been working on in his presidency, all with the president sitting two seats away. Carson later said the White House asked for an apology from Carson, but he said he did not need to give one, according to the NPR.
Now Carson is among the top three contenders in most presidential polls, according to RealClearPolitics. He is garnering support because, like Donald Trump, he is an outsider who has never held a political office. Most of Carson’s support is coming from the evangelical portion of the electorate. His staunch pro-life stances, such as his support for a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks, have proved attractive to conservative voters.
However, with that strong evangelical support, some controversy has recently come Carson’s way. On Sunday, Sept. 20, Carson told “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.” Carson believes Muslim values are not consistent with that of the United States Constitution. However, he also said he would not mind voting for a Muslim for Congress. “If there’s somebody who’s of any faith but they say things and their life has been consistent with things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed and bring peace and harmony, I’m with them,” Carson said.
Another one of Carson’s pillar campaign initiatives is to institute a flat tax. According to Politico, he gets the idea of the flat tax from tithing in the Bible. He said at his infamous prayer breakfast, “…the fairest individual in the universe (is) God, and He’s given us a system. It’s called tithe. Now we don’t have to necessarily do 10% but it’s the principle.” He has not given an exact rate for the tax yet.
Carson has also long been opposed to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and thinks there is a better way to get all citizens of the U.S. access to healthcare. His plan would be to give each person born in America a Health Savings Account (HSA) right along with a birth certificate, according to OnTheIssues. With a HSA, people would take money out of it when they have a medical problem. Carson believes this gives people more control over their own health care.
Carson is second in national polls, trailing Donald Trump by almost 10 points, according to RealClearPolitics. Carson has a decent chance of winning Iowa because of the state’s strong evangelical base. Carson is leading the evangelical support in Iowa, according to polling data from Monmouth University. In all other categories Trump and Carson are split when it comes to who sits on top.
Editor’s Note: Information from NBC News, NPR, BBC News, OnTheIssues and RealClearPolitics was used in this report.